Thursday, October 31, 2019

Why me?

This week I received in the mail a catalog so comically at odds with my interests, lifestyle, and financial status that it makes me wonder why I received it at all. Why me? Why not the wife of some powerful business magnate? How on earth did I get on their mailing list?

Titled "An Afternoon at Gump's; or, the Expedient Excursion," it featured a selection of jewelry and high-end gewgaws arranged in a loosely poetic alphabet theme (i.e. "A is for amethyst hostessing pieces; B is for ballerinas for each of her nieces") as told by a (presumably rich) shopper named Ann. For those of you unfamiliar with the store's name because you live on a modest homestead deep in the country, Gump's is "a luxury American home furnishings and home décor retailer" out of San Francisco. Now you know.

Well, seldom has a catalog offered more slapstick humor than this. While I sat at the kitchen table and shelled beans, Don leafed through the pages and read out loud select offerings. We laughed until we cried.

This is "Ann."

Notice the golden bangle on her wrist. For those of us who are rubes, it's a Loren Nicole "Horus Will be King" Repoussé cuff, handcrafted, 22-karat yellow gold, for a trifling $40,000.

It's also butt-ugly.

"Ann" begins her shopping as follows: "Ann had a Christmas list, daunting at best. Fortunately she was famously blessed. With an uncanny knack for the charmingly apt, treasures worth cherishing, perfectly wrapped." (Note to Gump's: Ann could use a few lessons in poetic composition.)

Consider a few treasures Ann found:

Under "B" (for "ballerinas for each of her nieces"), we find "Mints and Mills Nutcracker mice." Don't you think these look like they were assembled by kindergartners?

And they can be yours for only $995. That's apiece, of course.

How about this elegant silver vase? (You'd better pronounce that "vaz" not "vace," you cretin.) This is for mumsy. ("E is for elegant vase for her mother...")

This will only set you back $6,000. But isn't mumsy worth it?

Next, Ann buys what looks like glass beads for her friend Jean ("H is for hand-hammered necklace for Jean..."). Jean must be a good friend to Ann, since this Lilly Fitzgerald tanzanite necklace with mother-of-pearl and 22-karat yellow gold is a hefty $24,500. But honestly, doesn't it look like glass beads?

Here's another "vaz." For this pile of white dog doo-doo (Don's description, not mine), Ann only has to fork over $1950. A bargain.

But let's not forget poor Ann, who has exhausted herself shopping for loved ones. Fortunately, "As a reward for Ann's skill as an elf, a rare yellow diamond she'll get for herself."

This bit of glitter is a frugal $140,000. Can you see me wearing this while weeding the garden or mucking out the barn?

Tallied up, every gewgaw in this catalog came to a grand total of $602,841. If I followed the same shopping habits as Ann, I could either buy a generous farm with a large home and all kinds of infrastructure, or I could buy a handful of jewelry and silver vases. Hmmm, decisions decisions.....

But I'm very glad Gump's sent me this catalog, since we certainly enjoyed it.

I do have one thing in common with Ann, though. I, too, am "famously blessed."


  1. We paid $79,000 for our home in 1983 and felt blessed. Those geegaws are pretty but I can think of more practical gifts. Red

  2. Those prices almost look like they should be in Zimbabwe dollars.

  3. "butt-ugly"? You are being very kind.

    Montana Guy

  4. I swear to you that those items look like things I can pick up at estate sales. That silver "vaz" made my first think of my cat investigating it and toppling it over due to it's round bottom. I can bet you many of those will be redone on the cheap by China and will probably be gotten at Walmart, even then I could not possibly get any of them due to their lack of the "cute" factor, I think they are very unattractive. And yes I can see me wearing that pin while I clean out the hen house. I'll take a fully equipped homestead over any of these items any day of the week.

    1. My thoughts exactly on getting these types of things at estate sales, though I, too, would pass on most of them. It is interesting to wander through mansions and see what kinds of things interest the wealthy. You can often find quality tools for "the help" for cheap because it's not something they consider valuable (e.g. garden and kitchen tools).

  5. Where’s the beef? That’s what my adult kids get for Christmas. We have beef processed and everyone gets enough to last for quite some time. The first year I did this, they told me it was the best gift I’d ever given them. Now it’s a new Christmas tradition.

  6. Y'know, even if I were married to Bill Gates (the richest man in the world) I wouldn't spend that kind of money on those things.

    1. If I had that kind of money, I would build more chicken coops, have a bigger barn, and expand my goat pen.

  7. That magazine would make some great doo doo paper.

  8. Patrice, once in the long ago I went to Gumps in San Francisco. Ugly stuff, highly priced. Makes you wonder.

  9. I am sure you would impress your bovine herd with that sparkling yellow bauble. They would stare with rapt enchantment at the light striking, emitting rays of opulence... but I am sure your muddy, road apple encrusted boots were more popular.

  10. May I please observe that I have met some of the snobs that would buy this sort of ... stuff.... and some of their other financial decisions have even been MORE stunningly stupid than buying such trashe! IMHO. Makes me wonder how they got their larguess. (purposely not spelled correctly)

  11. I feel guilty if I spend too much money on an item for the girls.
    This is just plane stupid.
    Even if I have money up the wazoo I would not buy this trash.
    Think how much could be done with all this money.

  12. The mice are kinda pretty.

    The silver vase looks like a penis. It just DOES. I’m not paying a whole year’s grocery budget for a dong vase.

    Not paying any of these prices for any of this junk; hard pressed to believe folks would buy it at 90% off.

    But it’s instructive (and humorous) to see how the other 1/10 of 1% lives.